Roadkill, and other reasons your day was actually good.
On my drive to work I wind my way through a mix of suburban sprawl and winding rural hills, sheep hiding from the harshening sun in clusters and the occasional kangaroo blocking the road to eyeball my car as though I’m interrupting their commute… which I guess I am.
The other day I turned one of my favourite corners where the sky is cathedraled by gum trees and the sides of the road are coated in lush green grass and there, under the gums and nestled between the grass, was a rabbit hunched and wide eyed. It was too close for me to slow my car so it was fifty fifty as to whether or not the rabbit would meet a grisly end and the rest of my commute would be spent riddled with guilt, clutching the wheel teary eyed and repentent. The rabbit stayed it’s ground and I drove by, smiling as the weight of an animals impending doom was lifted from my shoulders. Further down the road, not a hundred metres, another rabbit had been met with the same choice, and chose poorly. My heart sank, and although it wasn’t my car that had erased this little creature I spent a portion of the morning thinking about human beings and our impact on the wildlife around us… of course life intervenes and work, people, friends eventually distracted me and the thought evaporated.
On the drive home the rabbit entered my thoughts again, it hadn’t been the best day at work, but it hadn’t been the worst, I was teetering on the edge of deciding between the two and whether or not I deserved to skip the work out and order pizza when I thought “if that rabbit I saw this morning has been hit by another car then that’s about all I can take and it’s pizza in my future”. At the time this seemed like a completely reasonable course of action, linking my mood and productivity levels to the demise or salvation of a rabbit seemed like a pretty understandable thing to do and on driving past the corner and seeing the road empty I rejoiced and had an exceedingly pleasant and productive evening. But how silly I think now.
When we’re younger, well… even now to be honest, we use superstition and pseudo-divination to our own end. “If I make it to my bedroom and turn on the lights before I take a breath the boogyman won’t get me”, “if this shot goes in then she likes me”, “if that customer comes in again today then I do deserve a couple of extra glasses of wine tonight”. We utilize external forces to justify our actions on a pretty consistent basis, but in reality it’s our methods of dealing with these forces at work, our ingestion of the days events and what we do with them that matters. I could have easily had a pleasant and productive afternoon if the rabbit had become roadkill, I could have done more simply for the fact that the rabbit could not. It’s all in the way we view events and how honest we want to be with ourselves that yes, something bad happened, but I can change the narrative in my head so that I can achieve what I would have liked to. So next time you’re unsure if you’re having a good or a bad day and could really go either way, just think about how you would honour the rabbit.